The Philadelphia 76ers didn't seem to have a lot to do in the 2012 NBA draft. With the Sixers only holding the No. 15 pick in the first round and two picks in the second, it looked to be a quiet night for the franchise. But Sixers fans like myself were led to believe that they would get a big man with their first round selection - only to see them take St. John's small man Moe Harkless instead.
However, Philadelphia got to go small and go big in the NBA draft all at once, when it made a deal with none other than the Miami Heat. Once the Heat took Mississippi State's Arnett Moultrie - who was on the projected list of possible No. 15 picks - the Sixers made their move and took him from the Heat for their second round spots. As such, it appears that they got everything they were looking for in this draft.
The Sixers need an actual center, since they were devoid of a big man for most of the year thanks to Spencer Hawes' injuries. With Hawes likely to be a free agent now, and with 2011 first round pick Nikola Vucevic still developing, Philadelphia has to have at least one tall option. But it didn't appear that this would be addressed in the 2012 draft after they took Harkless - although he may be a necessary piece as well.
Lou Williams is also likely to leave the Sixers for free agency, while Andre Iguodala's future is still up in the air. As such, Philadelphia is planning ahead in case it needs more depth at small forward, although Harkless was put in the power forward slot at St. John's. Yet according to Yahoo Sports draft analyst Mike Huguenin, Harkless is someone who "needs to improve his outside shot" but who does "a nice job on the boards and on defense" - so it sounds like he would fit right into this Sixers team.
With that need taken care of, Philadelphia moved onto filling its center slot once Miami took Moultrie. Anything that keeps the Heat from getting stronger is a plus, since one of the few things that the champions are missing is a big man - at least a traditional one. Moultrie will likely compete with Vucevic to take that spot for the Sixers if Hawes leaves.
After taking care of all that in the first round, the Sixers' night was pretty much finished. Their performance in the 2012 NBA draft can't be properly graded until 2013 and beyond, but the parameters for grading it will probably be on a curve.
In terms of getting a major future star, the Sixers will likely fail, as they have for most of their recent drafts. But if they can develop Harkless and/or Moultrie into another Williams or Jrue Holiday or Thaddeus Young, they may wind up having a victorious draft yet.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and 76ers fan.
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